Principal Investigator Dr. Bryan Denny
Dr. Bryan Denny is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Rice University and Director of the Translational Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience (T-SCAN) Lab. He received his BA in psychology in 2005 from Stanford University and his PhD in psychology in 2012 from Columbia University (working in the lab of Kevin Ochsner). He completed postdoctoral training in clinical applications of social cognitive neuroscience at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (working in the lab of Harold Koenigsberg). Bryan has had a longstanding interest in seeking to understand the psychological and neurobiological mechanisms that underlie successful and unsuccessful emotion regulation across a spectrum of healthy and clinical populations. Further, he is interested in utilizing the results of basic investigations into these processes in order to design and examine novel interventions focused on improving real-world emotion regulation outcomes in a variety of contexts. Outside the lab, he enjoys traveling, sushi, playing drums, and karaoke.

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Graduate Student Eva Dicker
Eva is a second year graduate student interested in the strategic investigation of emotion regulation strategies and their interventions using a variety of methods. She received her B.A. in Psychology and minor in English at UC Berkeley in 2018. Before coming to Rice, she took a year to work with the UC Davis Alzheimer’s Disease Center on the KHANDLE study, which aims to understand ethnic disparities in dementia incidence by assessing early and midlife risk factors and MRI imaging. Her previous position created an interest in working with caregivers of Alzheimer’s Disease to develop more effective and accessible intervention tools. Outside of lab and class, she is busy exploring Houston’s music and art scene, eating everything in sight along the way!

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Graduate Student Pauline Goodson
Pauline is a first year graduate student interested in studying the neurobiological underpinnings and behavioral and physiological effects of emotion regulation processes, as well as how training in the different stages of these processes can contribute to physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing in humans. She received her B.A. in Psychology from Swarthmore College in 2014 and earned her certification from the University of California, Irvine’s Post-Baccalaureate Program in Psychological Sciences in 2019. Outside of the lab, she spends her time going for walks, watching cheesy horror films, trying new foods and drinks, and rigidly adhering to board game rules.

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Graduate Student Anoushka Shahane
Anoushka is a fourth year graduate student and a NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Fellow. She earned her BSc at Tufts University in 2015 and her MA at Rice University in 2019. Anoushka is interested in exploring neurobiological mechanisms and physiology underlying affect to understand how they impact health outcomes—specifically, risk for cardiovascular disease. Prior to joining the lab, Anoushka worked with Drs. Mahzarin Banaji, Jason Mitchell, Diana Tamir (Harvard), Heather Urry (Tufts), and Vasu Chandrasekaran (Cubist Pharmaceuticals) on a variety of projects ranging from developing an algorithm to identify and prioritize secondary metabolites in genomic sequences, to implementing a cognitive control manipulation to alleviate anxiety symptoms in the presence of stress. Outside of the lab, Anoushka can be found in the ballet studio, drinking coffee, or eating sushi.

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Lab Manager / Research Assistant Jenna Jones
Jenna joined the T-SCAN lab in the summer of 2019 as the lab manager. She graduated from The University of Houston in December 2018, earning a B.S. in Psychology with a minor in Medicine in Society. Prior to the T-SCAN lab, Jenna worked on a variety of projects as a research assistant in the Developmental Psychopathology Laboratory under the direction of Dr. Carla Sharp, and the Anxiety and Health Research Laboratory under the direction of Dr. Michael Zvolensky. In the future, Jenna plans to pursue her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, interested in researching anxiety disorders in adolescents and the contributing mechanisms. In her spare time, she enjoys going to concerts, sewing, and trying to make her cat famous on Instagram.

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Undergraduate Research Assistant Christopher Almendariz
Christopher is a senior at Rice University majoring in Neuroscience with a minor in Biochemistry & Cell Biology. He is interested in how emotions are constructed and understanding the personal patient narrative of the mental illness experience. He is currently applying to medical schools and is interested in a career in psychiatry. He has previously worked with Dr. De La Garza at the Baylor College of Medicine on a clinical drug study investigating its efficacy and effects on smoking cessation in addicted populations. Outside of class, he is the President of the QuestBridge Scholars Chapter which supports first-generation and low-income students on campus and Coordinator for the Young Owls Leadership Program, which helps prepare high school students in Houston ISD to apply to college. In his free time he likes playing tennis, reading online WebToon comics, watching anime, and gardening with his grandmother.

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Undergraduate Research Assistant Daphne Campo
Originally from New Orleans, Louisiana, Daphne Campo is a senior at Rice University pursuing a BA in Psychology and a minor in Neuroscience, in preparation for graduate school in the same areas. Broadly, she is interested in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, mental health interventions from childhood to adolescence, and interventions for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Daphne has previously worked as an RA in the Consortium for Organization Resilience and Effectiveness (CORE) Lab on NASA-funded studies and group dynamic studies. Additionally, her team holds the 2019 Rice Undergraduate Research Symposium (RURS) award for the Social Sciences Division for research on priming and situational evaluations. Besides her major, Daphne studies the French language and leads a small group with Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship. She also loves specialty coffee brewcraft, dogs, cooking, reading, and traveling. (And she will never say no to brewing you a cup of coffee!)

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Undergraduate Research Assistant Madeleine Fuselier
Madeleine is a senior at Rice University pursuing a BA in psychology. She is originally from Orange, Texas. Madeleine has previously worked as a Research Assistant in the Consortium for Organizational Resilience and Effectiveness (CORE) Lab on several of its NASA-funded projects. Her research interests include emotional disorders, mental health interventions in vulnerable populations, the relationship between memory and personality, and the influence of personality on mental health outcomes. Madeleine is involved in the Boniuk Council, a student-led interfaith organization affiliated with the Boniuk Institute at Rice. In her free time, Madeleine enjoys traveling, reading, and watching movies.

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Undergraduate Research Assistant Brandon Hayes
Brandon is a senior at Rice University pursuing a double major in Cognitive Science and Psychology. Originally from Lubbock, TX, he is interested in the underlying mechanisms in the brain that contribute to automatic responses and our ability to override them. Brandon has previously worked in the Hebl/King/King lab studying discrimination on a number of minority groups. Outside of lab, Brandon works as a manager for the Rice basketball team, and is the co-founder of the Rice Baseball Analytics Department. In his free time, he enjoys reading, watching various sporting events, and being active.

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Undergraduate Research Assistant Charlotte Hirsch
Charlotte is a junior at Rice University pursuing a major in Cognitive Sciences and considering a Data Sciences minor. Originally from Rockville, Maryland, Charlotte has always been interested in the intersections between emotion, language, and mental health. Outside of class, she is involved in several extracurriculars such as tutoring middle-schoolers with PAIR (Partnership for the Advancement and Immersion of Refugees) and playing casual tennis. In her free time, Charlotte likes drinking iced coffee, listening to music, and reading.

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Undergraduate Research Assistant Rohini Kumar
Rohini is a senior studying neuroscience at Rice University. She is interested in the relationship between mental and physical health and the neural mechanisms that underlie this relationship. This year, she is conducting a senior thesis project exploring cognitive reappraisal and heart rate variability in bereaved spouses. Rohini is also passionate about science outreach and volunteers with BrainSTEM to get kids excited about neuroscience. Outside of the lab, she enjoys listening to music, dancing, baking, and reading.

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Undergraduate Research Assistant Jennifer Spalten
Jennifer is a current junior at Rice University majoring in neuroscience. She grew up in Atlanta, Georgia and has previously worked with Emory University at its Treatment-Resistant Depression Clinic. Her main focus of interest is in the neurological pathways involved in emotion and mental health, and she hopes to explore this area more in her time as an undergraduate. Outside of class and lab, Jennifer is a dancer and choreographer at Rice Dance Theater and enjoys supporting other students’ mental and physical health as a member of the Rice Health Advisors program. She also loves learning new languages, cooking, watching movies, and reading.

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Lab Mascot Baby Groot 
Baby Groot is the beloved mascot of T-SCAN. His resilience and positive attitude, in the face of stress and chaos, is an inspiration to emotion regulation researchers everywhere.

 

 

 

Lab Alumni

Postdoctoral Fellow Dr. Richard Lopez
Dr. Rich Lopez earned a BA in Psychology in 2009 from Princeton University, and then worked as a research assistant in Dr. Kevin Ochsner’s lab at Columbia University. In 2017, he obtained his PhD in cognitive neuroscience from Dartmouth, where he studied brain-behavior relationships as they relate to self-regulation of eating. He served as the Postdoctoral Fellow in the T-SCAN lab from 2017-2019. Broadly, Rich is interested in linking appetitive and affective processes to health outcomes and health risk behaviors—within and across populations. Outside of research, he enjoys reading, running, hiking, and nerd-ing out about metaphysics, statistics, meteorology, or any combination thereof. In Fall 2019, Dr. Lopez moved to Bard College, where he serves as an Assistant Professor of Psychology and Director of the Regulation of Everyday Affect, Craving, and Health (REACH) Lab. 

Graduate Student Shane Reader
As a scientist, Shane Reader seeks to connect the dots between the neurological processes, affective evaluations, and physiological motivations that often scuffle for influence over our health-related behavior and decision-making. Drawing from an ever-deepening toolbox of functional, physiological, and cognitive measures, these lines of research seek to address fundamental questions such as, why do some people find it harder than others to make healthy choices? By what pathways do neurological motivations influence our health-related behavior? and How can we best control both our explicit and implicit processes?

Lab Manager / Research Assistant Julia Chavez
Julia received her BA in Cognitive Sciences from Rice University in 2017, and then joined the T-SCAN Lab as the founding lab manager, a position she kept until 2019. Prior to the T-SCAN lab, Julia worked as a research assistant in Dr. Jake Kushner’s endocrinology lab studying beta cells and their role in diabetes. She also studied in Copenhagen, Denmark with the Medical Practice and Policy program at DIS. In her free time, she enjoys listening to podcasts and stand-up comedy. As of Fall 2019 Julia will begin medical school at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine.

Undergraduate Research Assistant Rebecca Artall
Originally from Lafayette, LA, Rebecca graduated from Rice University in 2020, majoring in Cognitive Science and Psychology. Rebecca joined T-SCAN as a research assistant in the summer of 2017 and continued until her graduation. During her time in the lab, she worked on a variety of projects, including  completing her senior thesis examining emotion regulation choice, attention, and inhibition in college students. In general, she is interested in how our interpretation of a situation or environment shapes our experience, how our perception of ourselves affects behavior, and how to use psychological research findings to make positive changes in the world. On campus, Rebecca is involved with RPC and works in the IT Help Desk. At home, she enjoys cooking and Pinteresting recipes she knows she’ll never actually cook.

Undergraduate Research Assistant Daniel Pham
Daniel graduated from Rice University with a double major in Computer Science and Cognitive Science in 2020. He joined the T-SCAN lab in 2018 and continued through his graduation, primarily working to develop an algorithm with graduate student Anoushka Shahane. He is broadly interested in language and memory processes as well as the connections between those processes and computational modeling. Daniel is also actively involved in Rice Nocturnal, one of Rice’s a cappella groups, as well as the Catholic education program at his home church. Outside the lab, Daniel enjoys listening to music, playing video games, binge-watching TV shows, and putting on face masks from Lush.

Undergraduate Research Assistant Jennifer Truitt
Jennifer graduated from Rice in 2020 with BAs in Psychology and History. She worked in the T-SCAN lab on a variety of projects during her time, including successfully completing her senior honors thesis. Upon graduating, Jennifer took a job with Dr. Eric Storch at the Baylor College of Medicine.  Outside of her majors, she enjoys Classics and Sociology. Since matriculating in 2016, she has worked in labs such as the Break Free Smoking Study with Dr. Chris Fagundes, a study on employment opportunities for disabled individuals with Dr. Mikki Hebl, and most recently, the T-SCAN with Dr. Bryan Denny. She interned with the Dallas Center of Collaborative Psychology, allowing her the opportunity to observe assessment and treatment of patients in a clinical setting. Her research interests include depression and anxiety in adolescents, especially as they relate to emotion regulation strategies and possible intervention development for youth at risk. In her free time, Jennifer enjoys writing movie reviews, playing guitar, taking care of her gigantic dog, and accumulating books she will never have time to read.

Undergraduate Research Assistant Kyla Barnwell
Kyla was a research assistant in the T-SCAN lab during Fall 2019 and primarily worked on the emotion regulation study involving caregivers of loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease. Kyla is pursuing a major in Cognitive Sciences and a double minor in Poverty, Justice, and Human Capabilities and Global Health Technologies. She is from Atlanta, Georgia and previously worked in the McGinley Lab at the Baylor College of Medicine with projects focusing on neural mechanisms in attention and perceptual learning with nerve stimulation. She is interested the role of emotion regulation and its impact on mental health and behavior. Kyla is actively involved with Rice Nocturnal, one of the student a cappella groups on campus, and serves as an academic fellow for Jones College. In her free time, she enjoys singing, checking out new restaurants, and watching sitcoms.

Research Assistant Noha Fathy
Noha recently earned a Master’s degree in Clinical and Mental Health Counseling at the University of St. Thomas. She was a part of the T-SCAN lab as a research assistant from 2017-2019. She is particularly interested in the relationship between emotions and physical pain and hopes to research that from a neuropsychological perspective in the future. Prior to coming to Houston two years ago, she earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the Ain Shams University in Cairo and then moved to Bahrain to work as a flight attendant. In her spare time, she enjoys dancing, kickboxing, meditation, and reading poetry.

Undergraduate Research Assistant Serena Brandler
Serena graduated from Rice University as a triple major in Cognitive Science, Psychology, and Linguistics, with a minor in Neuroscience. Serena worked as a research assistant in the T-SCAN lab from 2016-2018 and completed an honors thesis in the lab in 2017-2018. She also worked as a research assistant in Dr. Simon Fischer-Baum’s Neuroplasticity lab and as a research intern for practicing neuropsychologist, Dr. Adriana Strutt, at Baylor College of Medicine. Serena is interested in developing and testing emotion regulation strategies for students with test anxiety as well as investigating the effectiveness of reappraisal training as a treatment option for a variety of mental health disorders. In her free time, she loves to read, knit, and paint. As of Fall 2018 she will be a graduate student in the Psychology PhD program at UT Austin working with Dr. Jennifer Beer.

Undergraduate Research Assistant Derek Brown
Derek Brown was a research assistant in the T-SCAN lab during Fall 2018. Derek Brown grew up in Bay City, TX studying psychology at Rice University. Derek has a passion for research and advancing science. Some of his favorite research topics include, emotion regulation, veterans and PTSD, as well as converging evidence across literatures. In his free time, Derek enjoys giving back to his community and exploring different adventures in nature.

Undergraduate Research Assistant Allison Gregg
Allison was a research assistant in the T-SCAN lab from 2016 to 2018. She intends to continue on to graduate school to earn a PhD in clinical psychology, where she can further her research interests in the biological and emotional mechanisms underlying mood disorders. She has worked as a research assistant in Dr. Fischer Baum’s Neuroplasticity lab measuring cognitive language function in stroke victims, and is also currently working in Dr. Calarge’s lab at Texas Children’s Hospital investigating the relation between intestinal permeability and depression in adolescents. When not in class or in lab, she enjoys playing and teaching tennis, playing the cello and going to pop-punk and metalcore concerts.

Undergraduate Research Assistant Isabel Jiang
Isabel was a member of the T-SCAN lab during the from Fall 2017- Spring 2018. Originally from Los Angeles, California, she has worked in a Bioengineering Lab under Harry Choi at the California Institute of Technology as well as an ecology lab under Lauren Eveland at Rice University. Isabel is interested in learning more about the roles of the brain in influencing human behavior, especially in relation to the long-term effects of specific actions or thoughts. In her free time, she loves to work on her bullet journal, play board games and take naps.

Undergraduate Research Assistant Erica Lee
Erica was a research assistant in the T-SCAN lab from Fall 2018 to Spring 2018. She is originally from Illinois, but moved to Seoul when she was 10. Previously, she was an intern at the Emotion Science Center in Korea, where they developed products for more effective methods of emotion regulation and biofeedback-related relaxation training. She was also a research assistant in Dr. Hebl’s lab, where she studied racial discrimination and discrimination against pregnant women. She is mainly interested in mental health and treatment for such mental disorders, and how factors such as stress, genetics, and emotions can have amplified effects on our lives. In her free time, she enjoys curating playlists of various genres, art-ing or appreciating art, reading, and wasting time on Youtube.

Undergraduate Research Assistant Donni Staley
Donni graduated from Rice University with a Psychology BA with a minor in neuroscience. She joined the T-SCAN lab in Fall 2017 and was a research assistant until Spring 2018. She has worked as a research assistant in Dr. Mikki Hebl’s lab, where she studied discrimination in the workplace, and the HOPE lab, where she studies the sociocultural factors of smoking cessation. She is interested in the links between brain and behavior, particularly the brain’s relationship to health behaviors and health outcomes. Outside of the lab, she enjoys reading, traveling, coaching gymnastics, and volunteering for Camp Kesem.

Undergraduate Research Assistant Vivian Wong
Vivian, originally from Illinois, majored in psychology and kinesiology at Rice University. She was a research assistant in the T-SCAN lab during the 2017 academic year. Her interests lie generally in how the body and mind interact to create experience. More specifically, she is interested in how to address physical and social-emotional limitations that affect individuals with special needs, motivating her to pursue a career in occupational therapy. During her last three years at Rice, Vivian was actively involved with RPC and Camp Kesem. In her free time, Vivian loves to bake and feed her huge sweet tooth. In Fall 2019, Vivian will be a student in the occupational therapy doctoral program at Washington University in St. Louis.

 

Collaborators

Chris Fagundes, Ph.D., Rice University

Jin Fan, Ph.D., Queens College, City University of New York

Cobi Heijnen, Ph.D., University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

Danielle King, Ph.D., Rice University

Harold Koenigsberg, M.D., Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Mark Kunik, M.D., Baylor College of Medicine

Richard Lopez, Ph.D., Bard College

Elizabeth McIngvale, Ph.D., LMSW, Baylor College of Medicine and Peace of Mind Foundation

Jeffrey Miller, M.D., Columbia University

James Murrough, M.D., Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Fred Oswald, Ph.D., Rice University

Ashutosh Sabharwal, Ph.D., Rice University

Akane Sano, Ph.D., Rice University

Jennifer Silvers, Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles

Jennifer Stinson, Ph.D., Baylor College of Medicine

Eric Storch, Ph.D., Baylor College of Medicine

Ashok Veeraraghavan, Ph.D., Rice University